Flip Phones, Fax Machines and Mapquest - an Argument for Less Tech and More Time.
In 1998 I opened Massive Record Source on 32nd & National Avenue in Milwaukee. It was in a pretty bad neighborhood (I ended up moving after someone got shot in front of the store; that and the heroin/prostitution ring operating upstairs had been propositioning customers a little too aggressively).
The storefront cost $275 a month.
I had been selling records out of the Addict Records house in West Allis for a year and needed space and the amount of traffic was starting to look suspicious to our neighbors (...the house would be raided while I was out of town at a gig a few months down the road).
The business was pretty simple - every week distributors would fax their lists over, I'd come in and find rolls of thermal paper spit out on the floor with stock lists and new item descriptions and then sit there with a pen and circle what I needed.
I'd then call up my sales rep and go down the list of what I wanted based on their descriptions - yep, no listening, just trusting a contact, or a label, or an artist. It usually worked.
Every Tuesday the boxes would arrive (not before 2pm, because I didn't open until 2pm) and every Tuesday the crowds would come.
Heavy boxes of 12" singles from Europe, Japan, New York, Los Angeles.
MRS was run out of 350 square feet with a dial up modem, a fax machine and a land line with a cassette tape answering machine.
We did a finite amount of offensive print advertising in The Onion (at the time it was a local print satire newspaper based out of Madison) and nothing else for advertising.
The relentless slot-machine of social media did not exist.
The store flourished because of relationships forged over mutual love of obscure music and service - when you walked in I'd hand you exactly what you wanted (and you just might get a complimentary 'kick to the head') before you commandeered a listening station complete with your own turntable, headphones, mixer and view of the busy Oakland Avenue.
Never a text message, never a facebook post announcing new releases.
Pretty simple not to, it didn't exist.
And it was effective, because the store provided something people really, really loved and really wanted.
Culture, community, a place to share ideas and thinking.
That's the ultimate goal I had when I started The Dan Plan, to create that same community inside of a virtual group; where a wide array of people can work towards a common goal - live better, possibly live longer and perhaps set and achieve health and goals they thought impossible.
Sure, the aesthetic side effects will be pleasant, but I'm more concerned with people learning life long habits for themselves and those around them.
Teach a man to fish...
Nutrition and Fitness should not be a complex matrix, though it is sold as such by internet hucksters and posers in rented cars pitching wealth-porn garbage.
Don't believe the hype - the secret is old school hard work.
Get a plan and stick to it. Make tweaks under the watchful eye of a great coach. Don't start something because someone you've never met or talked to is great at marketing. Dig in, take your time, do the research.
When you've made your informed decision, go ALL IN. Disconnect from things that distract and put your effort into sticking to what you decided you want. Focus is powerful.
Social media is full of people pitching shallow quick routes to six packs - as if that equates to happiness. As someone who's spent over a decade in fitness, I can tell you that abs have never lead to happiness, but dedication and persistence have.
Get a plan, stick to your plan. I've got one that works over and over if you need it. Once you have it, take time for yourself, check out, put in work on the things that matter - it will pay off.